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Former Chinese central bank chief says digital yuan is for retail transactions

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Zhou Xiaochuan, the former governor of the People’s Bank of China, said in a speech on Saturday that the digital yuan is designed to focus on transactions for people and merchants and not to replace SWIFT or weaponize the currency.

See related article: The digital yuan’s de-dollarization

Fast facts

  • Zhou, speaking at the 2022 Tsinghua PBCSF Global Finance Forum in Beijing, said the digital yuan is designed for retail transactions, and “may not necessarily be up to the job” if it was suddenly asked to undertake the role of cross-border payments.
  • He added that the digital yuan may be adapted for cross-border payments in the future, but stressed that its focus will remain on retail applications and not be “used as a weapon.”
  • Zhou cautioned that the world should guard against slipping back into the chilly relations that dominated trade during the Cold War era, as such an outcome would “bring damage to everyone”.
  • In February, China’s central bank announced expanding the digital yuan pilot program to Hong Kong for retail payments, the largest offshore renminbi distribution center.
  • The digital yuan has become a member of mBridge project to facilitate cross-border CBDC payments between China, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.

See related article: Hong Kong makes apt testbed for e-CNY cross-border use

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